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American Eagle CEO steps down

Pedestrians walk past an American Eagle Outfitters store in New York, June 23, 2009. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Pedestrians walk past an American Eagle Outfitters store in New York, June 23, 2009. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

(Reuters) - Teen apparel retailer American Eagle Outfitters Inc said its chief executive of two years, Robert Hanson, would leave the company, effective immediately.

American Eagle's shares fell as much as 5 percent in trading after the bell.

The company said Executive Chairman Jay Schottenstein would serve as interim CEO. Schottenstein was previously the CEO of the company between March 1992 and December 2002.

American Eagle also said Vice Chairman and Executive Creative Director Roger Markfield would postpone his retirement and continue in his current role.

The company also reaffirmed its earnings forecast of 26 cents per share for the fourth quarter.

Earlier this month, American Eagle said comparable sales for the fourth quarter ended January 4 declined 7 percent, while total sales fell 2 percent to $882 million.

At that time, Hanson had said traffic and sales through Christmas week were on the low end of the company's expectations and, coupled with the deep discounts needed to attract shoppers, were putting pressure on margins and earnings.

The company and its rivals Aeropostale Inc and Abercrombie & Fitch are also facing intense competition from "fast fashion" chains such as Sweden's H&M and Inditex's Zara, whose trendier and cheaper clothes are resonating with young shoppers.

American Eagle shares were down 4 percent at $13.74 in extended trading. They had closed at $14.31 on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday.

(Reporting by Maria Ajit Thomas in Bangalore; Editing by Savio D'Souza)

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